Yesterday, Mark Cuban joined Antanas “Tony G” Guoga—a politician, investor, serial entrepreneur, former poker star, and co-founder of Lithuanian blockchain company Lympo—in announcing the U.S. launch of the first blockchain fitness app, Lympo Run.
The app lets users earn cryptocurrency for completing fitness challenges around walking or running in the form of LYM crypto tokens which, along with monetary value, can be spent in-app for sporting goods at the Lympo Shop.
The blockchain company, which is focused on gamifying fitness, offers its crypto-based incentive program as a marketing tool for wellness brands and other sports and health industry players.
“This is a new paradigm in marketing. Instead of paying large sums of money to traditional marketing providers, businesses can now instead distribute that same money to everyday people seeking to live a more active life, at the same time increasing their brand awareness and proving their social responsibility,” Lympo Chief Marketing Officer Gintautas Nekrosius told Blockchain News.
Lympo and the Dallas Mavericks formed an alliance that serves as the company’s founding U.S. partnership.
Roger Wilco Inc. gets its own coin
In other cryptocurrency news, Dallas’ Roger Wilco Inc. is launching its own coin as announced in a tweet from the CEO of its partner, Something Simple Services: “Finally @RogerWilcoAGCY is announcing their ICO research coin Wilcoin! Super excited for them!”
The ICO is intended to be a move that combines past successes with the present, as Wilco is taking its research services and media experience to the world of blockchain by launching a research firm where you can buy (and potentially pre-pay for at a discount) research and consulting. Founder Mark Hopkins wrote to Dallas Innovates that Wilco has been a place for many to turn to interpret the world of blockchain, and the group of people that helped him found the company were instrumental in the success of my his last venture at SiliconANGLE.
5G and AR to meet at Cowboys pre-game tailgate Sunday
Back to sports: Dallas-based Nokia and AT&T, along with VR company Jaunt, are teaming up this Sunday to invite football fans at Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium to create a memorable end zone dance with the help of 5G and Augmented Reality technologies.
The innovative fan experience will use a 5G system—supplied by Nokia and Jaunt’s XR Cast—to capture 3D augmented reality holograms, view them in real-time, and then share them on social media. Along with the designated ‘live capture stations,’ the experience will have a viewing area with tables so tailgaters can live stream the AR end zone dances.
Kevin Petersen, Senior Vice President of device and network experiences at AT&T said in a statement that the 5G demo is the fourth the telecommunication giant’s done publicly this year. In partnering with Nokia and Jaunt, AT&T is able to demonstrate how tech like volumetric video, machine learning, and AR enhanced the fan experience at sporting venues.
Social media startup FootPrint launches
Last month a new social media scoring app called FootPrint, from Dallas startup Global FootPrint Corp., launched with a goal of letting users know what their social media presence is worth in dollars. The app was created by Hilario Nava, a Texas-raised, Mexican entrepreneur who founded Global FootPrint with Poria Mianabi, Esi Mianabi, Scott Brewer, and Squareball Studio.
Part of the impetus to create the app was to offer a more accurate method of proving the value of social media influencers beyond simply number of followers. Nava, via a t-shirt business, learned social media influencers with large followings didn’t always provide actual influence in marketing campaigns. He also witnessed brands over- and under-paying influencers for endorsements while managing his wife’s radio career.
Mianabi provided a seed investment after meeting Nava while producing a music video for Gotti Mirano’s “Leatherband.” He loved the idea for FootPrint and said the founding team began working with Square Ball Studio on the design and concept. Mianabi is also currently involved in two other startups: Tune Tank Entertainment, a creative media think tank, and Surfboard, a social media platform focused on local events and parties.
According to Nava, he has raised more than $226,000 in FootPrint’s first seed round and will be seeking a second round of seed capital in Q1 2019. Twitter is the first social media platform integrated with FootPrint and Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are expected to follow soon.
Neighborhood Goods: A modern alternative to the department store
Back in June, we told you about Neighborhood Goods, a retail concept by Dallas entrepreneur Matt Alexander and Mark Masinter, president of Open Realty Advisors, in 2017. In what Alexander calls “the future of department store retail,” the first location will provide a fresh experience with its rotating brands, daily event programming, in-store restaurant and bar, navigational app, and VR/AR technology.
And now, the brand’s first location is set to open in Plano at Legacy West today, Nov. 17.
It’s “multiple popups, one roof,” writes Bryan Wassal in Retail Touchpoints. “The core principle that we settled on was a focus on creating a more dignified, communal, sociable, friendly and approachable concept in the retail space,” Alexander said in an interview with the publication. “The goal is to shed some of that traditional pretentiousness that you can often see from the higher end of retail — and also some of the elements of self-consciousness and confusion that come from some retail experiences, where you feel like the entirety of the experience is built around trying to extract dollars from your wallet in a very overt way.”
Neighborhood Goods co-founders Matt Alexander and Mark Masinter were joined by friends, local VIPs, media, and bloggers at a private gathering on Thursday where guests got a sneak peek of the space.
Sam’s Club “future of retail” prototype is open on Lower Greenville
In Nov. 3’s ICYMI, we told you about Sam’s Club latest venture: A “future of retail” prototype set to open in Lower Greenville. The smaller-than-usual, mobile-first location was intended to be an “epicenter of innovation” with its featured tech that allowed shoppers to scan as they shop and check out sans-cashier. Although the Sam’s Scan & Go app has been around for two years, the prototype store will make that capability the foundation of the Sam’s Club Now app.
As of yesterday, the new concept is now open, and is acting as a “retail laboratory” to test the technology before a nationwide rollout. Sam’s club said Greenville was the ideal location as many local customers are both tech-savvy and time-pressed.
Art aficionados will want to check out the artwork in progress on the Richmond Avenue side of the store. Sam’s has tapped local artist Michael McPheeters to paint the mural — a mashup of iconic Dallas scenes and Texas images — on the building. “It cleverly references several art installations in Dallas, including The Eye, the giant eyeball sculpture by Tony Tasset in downtown Dallas; and Waiting on a Train, one portion of the Traveling Man series of sculptures sprinkled throughout Deep Ellum from artist Brad Oldham,” writes Micah Moore on Dallas Culturemap.
The Container Store has a tech-infused “Next Generation Store”
The Container Store in Dallas has gotten a new prototype—a 24,500-square-foot technology-infused Next Generation Store, to be exact. Designed by FRCH Design Worldwide and MJD Interactive, the space garners 18 touchscreens, a new product navigation system, a seating area, and a Custom Closets Studio for guests to visualize the various possibilities.
According to Bisnow, the store will serve as a test-and-learn environment to decide what elements should eventually be added to new and existing locations. The design for the Next Generation Store was guided by consumer testing that revealed customers felt overwhelmed when beginning to organize.
Food+Drink newcomers: Bellagreen and Main Squeeze
Two food and beverage companies are entering the Dallas market. Bellagreen American Bistro opened its seventh Texas location on Nov. 8, — the first outside of Houston — at The Hill on Walnut Hill Lane. The brands says it was Houston’s first Certified Green Restaurant™ and has “a mission to make life and earth more beautiful with every meal.” Plans exist for expansions at The Shops at Legacy in Plano next month and Preston & Park in early 2019. New Orleans-based Main Squeeze Juice Co., a juice and smoothie bar, signed a 10-store deal as part of its expansion into Dallas, Austin, and Houston.
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Heyday: Targeting Dallas after $8M Series A round?
A Glossy feature on facial salon Heyday highlighted the company’s $8 million Series A round and its new Los Angeles location, the first outside of its five New York City spots. The report added Heyday is targeting Dallas, Boston, and Chicago for additional expansion but didn’t put a timeline on the new locations.
IoT company SpotSee adds temperature monitoring
Dallas-based IoT company, SpotSee, added temperature-threshold monitoring to its real-time damage-monitoring SpotBot. The device is used by quality, plant, and supply chain managers and shipping industry workers to monitor impacts and temperature deviations via the SpotSee Cloud. The temperature monitoring is particularly valuable to the food and beverage industry.
On-demand delivery and moving app GoShare expands to DFW
An on-demand delivery and moving app called GoShare expanded its services to the Dallas-Fort Worth region this week with plans to hire hundreds or truck and van owners.
GoShare’s last-mile technology allows truck owners to connect with individuals requiring local moving and delivery assistance. The intent is to increase convenience while closing the services gap for local businesses—all deliveries are completed in the same day, and sometimes, the same hour. CEO Shaun Savage says the platform is going to bring high paying gig-economy options to DFW, as it allows independent contractors and freelancers to accept high-wage projects with flexibility over their time and workload.
The Brain Performance Institute and UTD gamify brain power
The Brain Performance Institute at the Center for BrainHealth, part of the University of Texas at Dallas, released a free gamified app to help users keep and increase their brain power. The Brain Performance Challenge app provides a snapshot of users’ strategic thinking abilities and offers tips on boosting cognitive performance as well as letting users track their improvement.
“The Challenge is intended to introduce key brain performance concepts in a fun way and informally measure your strategy, reasoning and innovation skills,” said Lara Ashmore, Ph.D., director of emerging technologies and online programs, in a statement. “Like everything we do at the Brain Performance Institute, the app is based on cognitive science and what we know about how the brain trains itself. We are very pleased that initial feedback from users has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Voly.org marks 5-year anniversary, celebrates $100M+ of value to North Texas nonprofits
VOLY.org — a mission-driven tech platform power by VolunteerNow — aims to be an all-in-one-solution for under-funded, over-stretched organizations that rely on community engagement. Voly marked its five-year anniversary by pointing to the more than $100 million in value added to North Texas nonprofits, along with its support of hundreds of thousands of students across Texas.
From October 2013 to today, the platform has grown from less than 10,000 to more than 135,000 registered volunteers supporting 3,000 nonprofits and generating 1.5 million hours of impact valued at $37 million. That’s thanks to philanthropists, led by Lyda Hill, according to a release.
“VOLY.org has been an incredible tool for our community in terms of expanding nonprofit and school district capacity and serving worthy individuals and organizations,” said VolunteerNow CEO Tammy Richards in a statement. “It means more teachers can spend time in the classroom, rather than manning carpool, and it means that nonprofits can make their limited budgets go further through volunteers.”
VolunteerNow serves as the hub of volunteerism in North Texas, and Voly.org is a 24/7 connection between volunteers and local services.
Anti-bullying “Character Challenge” Aims to Bully-Proof Schools
The United Way, the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys, and DC-based edtech company EVERFI have teamed up to fight bullying in schools. The groups announced The Character Challenge, which gives schools a chance to show local NFL teams plans for bully-proofing schools this year.
The Cowboy’s official Twitter account covered the news toward the end of last month with a video message from head coach Jason Garrett and a tweet: “#CowboysNation, the Character Challenge starts now! This school year we’re challenging YOU to bully-proof your school. Tweet us, @UnitedWayDallas & @UWTarrant to join the challenge using #BullyProofSchools showing us your plan!”
The University of Texas at Dallas—the only North Texas school to make the list—was named among the nation’s best schools for entrepreneurship studies in The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. UTD was named No. 23 among 25 honorees for undergraduate programs and No. 11 among the 25 graduate programs.
A newcomer to the undergraduate ranking, UTD joined three other first-timers on the list: Michigan State, Texas A&M, and Belmont University.
The University of Houston was the highest ranked Texas undergrad program for entrepreneurs at No. 2, and Rice for graduate programs at No. 3.
The Trade Group garners accolades, launches new special events team
Carrolton-based marketing and design firm The Trade Group, in what was described as the world’s largest video game diorama, featured Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft game for Blizzcon 2017. The event installation took up more than 1,300 square feet and contained more than 10,000 unique 3D figurines.
For that effort, The Trade Group was named a 2018 Top 3 Marketing Innovator by the American Marketing Association’s DFW chapter. This is the first year for the award recognizing the most impactful marketing innovation launches from the North Texas area.
Rounding out the top three were DART for its GoPass app re-launch and Frito-Lay North America for its Spotted Cheetah pop-up event.
“At The Trade Group, we’re fortunate to work with clients like Blizzard who really want to push creative boundaries in everything they do. Bringing the World of Warcraft diorama to life was a huge undertaking for our team, so sharing the journey of how the project evolved with our local AMA community and being named as a Marketing Innovator was really special,” said The Trade Group’s Marketing Director Stephanie Chavez in a statement.
The award was on the heels of another accolade for the group: In October, The Trade Group traveled with Facebook Gaming to Bangkok, Thailand for the Thailand Game Show at the Royal Paragon Hall, the largest gaming event in Southeast Asia. During the three-day event, the Facebook Gaming booth won the Best Exhibitor Award.
Most recently, The Trade Group has officially launched a Special Events Team, a seasoned group of event veterans who collectively possess a broad set of skills to meet the needs of their clients’ events and activations, according to a release.
Gold award goes to Fort Worth’s Applied Avionics Inc.
The Military & Aerospace Electronics and Intelligent Aerospace announced its 2018 Technology Innovation Awards this week with Fort Worth-based Applied Avionics Inc. receiving a gold award. Applied Avionics Inc. was awarded for its SR429/4D NEXSYS ARINC 429 Multi-bit Decoder. The tech can provide a binary decode of several data bits from one ARINC 429 data label.
Seven Dallas-Fort Worth companies recognized on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 List
Deloitte released its annual ranking of the fastest-growing tech, media, telecomm, life sciences, and energy companies in North America—fittingly dubbed the Technology Fast 500 list. Among the winners, seven Dallas-Fort Worth companies were recognized as leaders in their fields:
#43 Neos Therapeutics Inc. (Biotech/Pharmaceutical firm based in Grand Prairie)
#56 Fuse Medical Inc. (Medical device company based in Richardson)
#78 Alkami Technology Inc. (Software company based in Plano)
#81 Newline Interactive (Electronic devices/hardware firm based in Plano)
#135 Koddi (Software company based in Fort Worth)
#233 Blucora Inc. (Software company based in Irving)
#434 Broadleaf Commerce (Software company based in Plano)
Coworking made numerous headlines this week as it continues its torrid pace throughout North Texas. Dallas-based Common Desk, a coworking and workday amenities provider, announced it was opening a seventh office space in Addison’s new FOURTEEN5 Office Park. Naples, Florida-based Venture X—which set its sights on North Texas earlier this year with an inaugural opening near the Galleria—said it has leased another space in Uptown at One McKinney. And lastly, Houston-based The Work Lodge, an all-inclusive flexible workspace concept, is gearing up for national expansion, starting with its first franchise agreement in Fort Worth.
The numerous openings and expansions aren’t surprising considering a recent report from Dallas-headquartered Regus that shows by 2030, coworking could contribute $4.2 trillion annually to the U.S. economy, save workers 861 million hours of yearly travel time, and decrease carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 100 million combined tons.
Transwestern research manager Michael Soto said in the Dallas Morning News technology and coworking sectors are driving demand, increasing office demand across multiple sectors.
Per a report from Transwestern this week, DFW is leading the way in net office leasing for the year. The area topped San Francisco and Denver with more than 4.5 million square feet of net leasing. The area trailed only New York in office building with 7.7 million square feet of construction. More than 15 percent of the DFW office market was unoccupied in Q3 and rents increased 1.5 percent year-over-year compared to vacancy just over 10 percent and rents up 4 percent nationally over the same period.
What makes Dallas a great city for business?
North Texas is a large and diverse business environment so it’s no surprise area companies, schools and organizations are regularly singled out for recognition. But what does make Dallas a great city for business? The Forbes Dallas Business Council offered up six traits that make a difference:
- Global impact
- Talent and no state income tax
- Affordable real estate
- Progressive mentalities
- Helpful business community
What we’re reading
Nix the Amazon Orange skyline: An exclusive look inside Dallas-Fort Worth’s bid for HQ2
In news we’re sure no one missed, online retail giant Amazon announced last week that it will split its second U.S. headquarters between New York’s Long Island City and Arlington, Va. Dallas vied for the HQ2, and the 61-week search process put North Texas atop many rankings of best places in the country to do business, writes the Dallas Morning News. Here’s an inside look of how it went.
NEW + NEXT
Permian Basin Remains a Boon to North Texas
Experts estimate some $4.3 trillion in untapped recoverable oil remains underground in the Permian Basin, which stretches south from Lubbock, almost to the Rio Grande, and west into New Mexico. Irving-based ExxonMobil and Dallas-based Matador Resources Co. have invested billions into the basin, causing land costs to skyrocket.
Questions and Answers with CFO of the Year Awards Finalists
Hear from 2018 CFO of the Year Awards finalists as they discuss the evolving role of CFO, the future of talent attraction, emerging technology, and employee retention.
Infosys Plans to Bring New Hub, 500 Jobs to North Texas
India-based Infosys announced it will open a Technology and Innovation Hub in Richardson in 2020, its sixth in the United States. The Infosys hub is expected to bring 500 new jobs to the region and hire many local workers. The Dallas Morning News reported Texas approved a $3 million grant for the IT company.
Irving Building to Accommodate Startups, Growing Companies
Development of a 3-story, 35,430 square-foot building is underway in Irving, and 75 percent of it is already committed to investors. The space is designed to accommodate growing and startup companies. When the two-phase is completed, 125,000 square feet or office space will be available.
View SmartProtect Smart Windows Protect Dallas Fort Worth Airport
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport has another level of protection thanks to Views’s SmartProtect windows, which use Microsoft Azure’s IoT service and Azure Digital Twins to monitor for glass breakage. SmartProtect can tell the user where and when a break-in occurred.
DISD Develops “Drop-in” Center To House Homeless Students
The former Fannie C. Harris Elementary School will continue to serve DISD students in the coming years as a “drop-in” center that will help provide homeless and unaccompanied students access to educational supplies, counselors, mentorship, housing, and mental and medical care. Phase two of the project, which will open in spring 2019, will include a 35-bed overnight shelter.
Irving Hub of LIFT Development Enterprises Helps Underrepresented, Underserved Startups in Texas
Kim Folsom, who has founded six startups, now focuses on bolstering underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs and military veterans. Her program, LIFT Development Enterprises, has a hub in Irving.
Dallas Sisters’ Hobby Raises Over $1.5 Million for Clean Water Projects
Isabelle Adams, 15, and her sister Katherine, 12, have turned their origami hobby into Paper for Water, a nonprofit organization that has raised more than $1.5 million to fund clean water projects worldwide. Their creations have been featured at in the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book and at the Four Seasons Resort and Club.
DMA Set to Display Works from Souls Grown Deep Foundation
The Dallas Museum of Art is set to display seven works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, a nonprofit that documents, preserves, and exhibits the work of artists from the African-American South.
Is VR the Introvert’s Key to Socializing at Work?
Virtual reality technology could soon be used to help extroverted remote workers better socialize with their coworkers and introverted workers feel more comfortable around their peers. A study analyzing brain signatures reported introverted workers responded positively to meeting in VR and were able to establish authentic relationships.
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Dallas Innovates most-read stories this week
Things to Do
Events to inspire, connect, educate, and inform innovators
Calendar: The Neuroscience of Habit Formation, 2018 Fast Pitch, Global Innovator Banquet, Vitruvian Lights
From kids in business (Kidpreneur Expo, DFW Children’s Business Fair) to innovation that combats climate change (Naomi Oreskes at UT Arlington) to new art installations (Sweet Tooth Hotel), browse our curated selection of events to plan your next week—and beyond.
Quincy Preston, Alex Edwards, Lance Murray, and Payton Potter contributed to this report.